Hey Writer: What You Should Do When Your Writing Sucks
Sometimes, writing is fun. It doesn’t feel like work when the words pour out of you. Easily. Your characters come to life through the pages, surprising you in unexpected ways. Your plot finally comes together, as everything you questioned about your story falls into place. Your doubts fade away. And it’s a beautiful thing.
You pat yourself on the back after your writing session, as the words staring back at you confirm you were born for this! You’re meant to write. To create stories. To touch people through your words.
And then there are other days, when the fun disappears. You stare at the blank page in front of you, and the words don’t come. The plot twist you loved last week suddenly doesn’t make sense. Your main character seems flat. What you loved most about your story becomes the thing you question the most. You don’t want to type a single word because you dread the outcome. And as you re-read your work at the end of your writing session, you cringe. It sucks in your mind. You think to yourself, “why did I ever think I could do this?” “Why should I keep writing?”
And the answer still remains the same: You were born for this!
Our purpose as writers isn’t tied to how we feel. We can be in the zone one day and battling writer’s block the next. Of course we want to produce our best work every single time we sit down to write, but some sessions will produce smiles and high fives, while others bring out the eye-rolling or temptation to throw the laptop across the room.
Think about your favorite athlete. He or she may be a phenomenal athlete all-around, but I’m sure they’ve performed better at some games than others. Let’s say Steph Curry or Lebron James have a decent game. Not great. Not fantastic. Just decent. Are they disappointed? Sure. Does that mean they’ll walk away from basketball because of that off performance? Nope. Not at all. They’ll show up at the next game ready to play and bring their A-game. No excuses.
It’s all about showing up. Being present. Committing to finish what you’re meant to do.
Showing up to write isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. It may require some screams, grimaces or even tears. You may look at your work one day in awe (Did I create that?!”), and then look at it again the next day appalled (Did I create that?!!).
As writers, we’re often critical of our work and hard on ourselves. Keep on writing regardless of how you feel. Keep on telling your stories even when you think you’re not worthy to. Show up when your outcome is beautiful. Show up when it sucks. Don’t base your “wow” solely on your work, as the “wow” factor may not happen every writing session. Base your “wow” on your commitment to finish strong.
You got this.
You were born to write through the good and the bad. No matter what.